The Issue: The Common Core curriculum and tests that
are being introduced in New York schools.
The Post argues that the common core
standards and tests are necessary because our students are doing so poorly: “the facts of
failure are becoming impossible to ignore.
79.3% of public high-school grads who enrolled in CUNY’s community colleges had
to take remedial classes in math, reading or writing because they failed basic
qualification exams. These 10,000 students had to score a 35 on pre-algebra and
40 on algebra tests to “pass” — and thereby escape remediation.
In any other
universe, that would be an ‘F.’”
My response, Published in the New York
Post, April 24, 2013
complaint about high school grads not being ready for college (“Spotlight on
failure,” April 21) is part of a proud tradition that goes back over 100
More than half
of Harvard freshmen failed the entrance exam in 1874. As a result of an
analysis of essays written in 1894, the Harvard Board of Overseers criticized
high school writing teachers for the poor performance of the students. In 1930,
Thomas Biggs of Teachers College wrote that high school English classes
resulted in written English that was “in a large fraction of cases shocking in
their evidence of inadequate achievement.”
If we believe
these reports, our high school students were terrible in 1874 and have been
getting even worse ever since. Another interpretation is that there has been no
decline in performance, that we have always been expecting too much, and are,
for some reason, over-eager to scold students and their schools.
also published these letters, one agreeing that students are doing poorly, and
one attacking unions. All three letters are from outside New York.
Those who are on the front lines of the
education system in this city have known all along that our children have been
failing miserably for quite some time (“Spotlight on Failure,” Editorial, April
The histrionics coming from the teachers’
union regarding testing is no more than a massive coverup of its own poor
One would imagine that after finding out
that our children rank so poorly among other nations in math and science,
someone might care. This is not so in New York, where teachers only care about
perks and pensions, not kids.
I think that unions can serve an
important function, but over the years I have derived a pretty good test for
determining whether or not a policy makes sense.
If a policy provokes loud union
opposition, like that of Richard Iannuzzi and the state teachers union, it is
Common Core is one such example. We must
assess a problem before we can begin to solve it.
Teachers and the unions that control them
must demonstrate with more than lip service that they have the best interests
of our children at heart.